Organization Working to Educate Community about Disease

Posted: Updated: Mar 25, 2016 07:51 PM

BROWNSVILLE – A Rio Grande Valley organization is hoping to bring a change to the community.

Diabetes is an illness they started fighting more than a decade.

Sister Phyllis Peters is aware of the problem not only in the Valley, but across the United States. She said Proyecto Juan Diego’s purpose is very clear.

“Our mission is to help those who need it the most,” the chief executive officer said.

Peters said one in every three people has diabetes or are pre-diabetic. She knows diabetes isn’t a simple illness to deal with.

“We can’t really take away the diabetes, but we can stop the client to have more complications,” she said.

Programs like Salud De Vida and Unidos Contra Diabetes teach people how to self-manage their health. They offer educational classes based on the Center for Diabetes Control and Prevention. The classes are meant to prevent future complications.

“When you talk about complications there are many of them. It affects the heart, it affects hearing, it affects the dental, the cavities and all of that, it affects the stomach and the nerves. I mean it really is a whole systemic affect when the patient had diabetes,” Peters said.

Diabetes screenings are also available at the center to determine if the person is in need of help.

Proyecto Juan Diego started as an effort for the prevention of this disease two years ago. “We really want to catch them when they are in pre-diabetic stage so we can prevent diabetes from happening,” Peters said.

Lidiana Ramirez helps people learn how to live with diabetes. She is the program manager at the organization.

She said food intake plays a big role in her classroom. “For them to keep track of their food log. Them keeping track of their food log, making sure how many calories, grams and fats are taken in that actually helps them eat at a healthier level,” Ramirez said.

People who participate in the educational program are encouraged to reduce seven percent of their body weight. This decreases the possibilities to be diagnosed with diabetes by 58 percent.

Peters, Ramirez and everyone at Proyecto Juan Diego are working towards the same goal. They said their plan is to change the system, to educate and hit the root cause of diabetes.

Count on CHANNEL 5 NEWS to bring our viewers the very latest in diabetes coverage. For more information visit our Heart of the Valley page.

Para leer noticias en español, visite nuestra sección Español.